Author Topic: IRL - A Beginner's Guide  (Read 482 times)

Offline TheRoboteer

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IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« on: November 09, 2018, 09:58:14 AM »
I've always been irked by the fact that there's no real one-stop shop that new members can come to to learn about exactly what IRL building is all about, as I think it would allay a lot of the confusion about exactly what is and isn't IRL legal that we sometimes see from new members. This guide will aim to solve that.

So, we'll start at the very beginning. In Robot Arena 2 there are 3 main build styles: IRL, Standard and Unrealistic. This guide is going to focus on IRL because it's the one I have the most experience with, and also I think the most misunderstood. IRL building aims to create robots that look, and to some degree perform, as close to real robots as possible. Obviously it's not possible to fully simulate real robot building and combat in a computer game from ~15 years ago, but the IRL ruleset aims to get as close as possible. These days, the most common version of the game is DSL 2.2, usually with the component freedom (known as CF) and DSC IRL packs installed too (This is sometimes collectively called DSL 2.2 Complete edition, which is available here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/396q48h0222adap/DSL_2.2_Complete_Edition%25285%2529.zip

As a result of this, IRL has fairly strict rules about what is and is not allowed when building. There is one EXTREMELY important thing to note before I start going over the rules of IRL building though:

IRL BUILDING HAS INHERENT ELEMENTS OF SUBJECTIVITY. A BOT MAY GET ACCEPTED INTO ONE IRL TOURNAMENT BUT GET REJECTED FROM ANOTHER. THIS IS JUST THE NATURE OF THE RULESET AND THERE'S NO POINT COMPLAINING ABOUT IT.

Now that that's out of the way we'll start with the most basic tenets of IRL building. Some of these may seem like common sense to more experienced builders of IRL but it's totally understandable if a new member doesn't pick them up straight away.

Spinner Supports:

Firstly, there is the rule that all spinners, vertical or horizontal, must have adequate supports for the weapon axle. This is one of the most commonly overlooked rules of IRL building by newbies, but is also one of the few rules in IRL that can have little argument over it. Below are examples of a properly supported VS and HS by RedAce:

 


As you can see, both bots have rigid, triangular supports for their weapons made out of extenders. It's also important to note that the axle of the motor that he has used is supported by these extenders. This is possible thanks to component freedom, which is widely legal in IRL tournaments, and allows for the collision mesh of the extender and the motor axle to intersect, enabling the creation of proper supports.

Below are two examples of inadequate supports that would not be legal in IRL building. In the left example the motor has mo supports at all as the axle is floating in mid air supported only by the motor chain (which obviously would not provide any support were this real life). In the right example the weapon has SOME support, but it is not at all adequate. The single extender would buckle as soon as the weapon hit anything in a real combat scenario, which means that this setup would not be legal.

 


Wedge Design:
Wedge design is another point of contention in IRL building. To create an effective wedge you generally want your wedge to be attached to something like a skirt hinge or a burst motor. This goes for IRL building too. However, the kind of wedges which you see in Standard and Unrealistic building are generally not allowed in IRL building. Below is an example of a type of wedge which would be perfectly legal in Standard or Unrealistic, but is not allowed in IRL building

 


This wedge is very effective at getting under opponents, but it makes use of extremely thin, totally unsupported sheets of metal, which would buckle on first contact with an opposing machine in a real life combat scenario. We can achieve similar wedge effectiveness while remaining IRL legal through the use of wedgelets attached to metal or skirt hinges, as in the example below.

 


We can see in this example that the robot has 2 thick wedgelets extending out of the front of the robot in order to assist in getting under other machines. This setup for a wedge is legal because the wedgelets are sufficiently thick that they would not bend on contact with another machine like the wedge in the first example would.

That said, there is one scenario where thin sheets such as those in the first example are legal in IRL building. This scenario is a "dustpan" wedge, which has been seen on real robots such as S.O.B from Battlebots. Below is an example of a dustpan in Robot Arena 2

 


Here, Hoppin has used the thin skirt panels, but has used armour panels on the side to provide support and stiffness to them. This means that this setup is legal, as it mirrors setups seen on real life bots such as S.O.B

 



Weapon Restrictions:
This is an extremely contentious point in IRL building, and is the source of much of the debate that surrounds the meta. There are some restrictions placed on both weapon types and quantities in IRL building, though these restrictions vary from tournament to tournament. In general though 'weapon spam' as it is known, is either disallowed, or looked down upon in IRL building. Peoples' definitions of what constitutes 'weapon spam' vary. Some tournaments will place a hard limit on the number of teeth that a weapon such as a spinner can have. It is best to simply try to follow the rules of any tournament you enter, and make your own mind up about what you feel constitutes weapon spam over time.

Additionally, we do see some limitations on bot types that are allowed in IRL building. The "popup" bot type which aims to hit an opponent from below with a large number of weapons attached to burst motors or pistons, and is extremely popular in both Standard and Unrealistic building, is generally not allowed in IRL, as such a weapon setup would cause next to no damage in a real-world scenario.

Finally, there is the matter of flippers, and how many burst motors they're allowed to have. The number of burst motors allowed on flippers varies from tournament to tournament, like the limits on teeth, but these days the most common limits are 2 or 3 bursts for a flipper. Above 3 bursts on a flipper is extremely rare to be allowed, and even 3 is sometimes illegal in some tournaments. Ensure that you read the tournament's rules carefully before entering.

Internals:
You may think that as long as your bot looks realistic from the outside then you are good-to-go, but this is not the case. There are important restrictions placed on a robot's internals just as there are on the externals. Many new players assume that since component freedom is generally legal in IRL building, that it is also legal to intersect all components inside each other to create the most compact bot possible. This is untrue. IRL follows similar rules to Standard building in this regard. A component may only intersect with another where a slot could feasibly be cut in real life. This means that components such as motors, batteries, air tanks and control boards may not intersect with one another. However, static, non-electrical/mechanical components such as extenders may intersect with other components, including control boards, motors etc, so long as a slot/hole could be cut to accommodate them in real life. Additionally, moving parts may under no circumstances intersect with other moving parts.

Extenderbots and OBJ2RA2:
These are two terms that may be confusing to new members, but that are growing ever more prevalent in IRL building. An extenderbot is a robot which has little to no chassis (often they will make use of a "pixel chassis" which is contained within an extender anchor, which provides a base to build off of. This chassis is available here: https://gametechmods.com/forums/gallery/?sa=view;pic=5769), and is made up almost entirely out of extenders and armour plates, making use of the component freedom mod to break the "rule of 7" (in default Robot Arena 2 you can only have a maximum of 7 components in a chain) and to place extenders and panels in places that you would otherwise not be able to. This has several advantages and disadvantages. An advantage of extenderbots is that you can achieve shapes that would be impossible to achieve with the default chassis creator in Robot Arena 2. Below is an example of an extenderbot with such a shape:

 


Furthermore, the fact that extenderbots are made out of breakable components allows for more realistic destruction than traditional robots (or chassisbots as they are also known), with chunks of robots being able to be ripped off, and internals such as motors becoming exposed. Such destruction comes with a major drawback though. Damaging extenderbots places a lot of strain on the outdated physics engine of Robot Arena 2, which can lead to crashing or 'havok explosions (bots magically pinging across the arena unpredictably despite seemingly having no forces acting on them).

This is where OBJ2RA2 comes in. This is a relatively new technology pioneered by Apanx, and enables you to import any .obj file as a chassis into Robot Arena 2. This allows for similar complex chassis shapes to extenderbots (though it lacks the more realistic destruction) while placing less strain on the physics engine. Because it is such a new development it has lacked the widespread adoption that extenderbots have seen, and it is also somewhat complicated and difficult to grasp for many members, but those who do make use of it have produced some fantastic results

 


Component Legality and Cheatbot2:
Many IRL tournaments allow the use of 'cheatbot2' components. cheatbot2 (commonly known simply as CB2) is a feature in Robot Arena 2 where you can name your robot 'cheatbot2' in order to access a plethora of hidden, sometimes extremely powerful components. Many IRL tournaments only allow certain cheatbot2 components, as many of them are extremely unbalanced and not suitable for tournament use. Components such as the flatmotor however, while strong, are commonly allowed as they provide a builders with a way of executing certain designs that may not otherwise be possible without them. Make sure to read each tournament's rules on cheatbot 2 components carefully before using them in order to ensure your robots are not rejected.

Bot File Editing:
The last point I will touch upon in this guide is bot file editing. Despite the daunting name this process is relatively easy, with guides how to perform various tasks using bot file editing (commonly referred to as BFE) here: https://gametechmods.com/forums/tutorials-and-tips/guide-to-the-bot-file-(re-up)/ , here: https://gametechmods.com/forums/tutorials-and-tips/bfe-a-beginner's-guide/ and here: https://gametechmods.com/forums/general-support/how-to-edit-a-botfile-to-make-it's-burst-motor-have-an-180-degree-arc/msg646794/#msg646794 .

BFE allows builders to do a plethora of things that are not normally possible in the game, such as create a chassis lower than the normal minimum height achievable, move components around after they have been placed, or change the colour or material of a component after it has been placed. BFE is often legal in IRL tournaments, though some limit what it can be used for. Again, be sure to read the rules of the tournament before building your robot to avoid getting rejected.

Summary:
I hope this guide proves useful in at least dispelling some of the myths around IRL, and cluing new members in on exactly what it's about so that there's less confusuion when new people join. Many thanks to RedAce, Hoppin and Tashic for allowing me to use some of their bots as examples in this guide.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 09:53:12 AM by TheRoboteer »
Notable Guffs That I Dun Gone And Did:
The Beginner's Guide to IRL:
https://gametechmods.com/forums/tutorials-and-tips/irl-a-beginner's-guide

Offline Hoppin

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 10:19:32 AM »
Many new players assume that since component freedom is generally legal in IRL building, that it is also legal to intersect all components inside each other to create the most compact bot possible.

Kix also believes this. :dumb)

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Offline pokebro14

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2018, 11:54:58 AM »
Many new players assume that since component freedom is generally legal in IRL building, that it is also legal to intersect all components inside each other to create the most compact bot possible.

Kix also believes this. :dumb)
Remember new players, never be a Kix
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Offline Billy5545

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 04:20:00 PM »
It's an actually great guide. Nice job TR

Offline geese

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 04:55:06 PM »
croat bashing aside, this is a great guide. definitely one of the best ones I've seen for building
lra2 is a god compared to geice lol...

Offline kix

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2018, 05:30:33 PM »
Many new players assume that since component freedom is generally legal in IRL building, that it is also legal to intersect all components inside each other to create the most compact bot possible.

Kix also believes this. :dumb)
Remember new players, never be a Kix
I agree
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Offline TheRoboteer

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 05:49:30 PM »
It's an actually great guide. Nice job TR

croat bashing aside, this is a great guide. definitely one of the best ones I've seen for building
TY lads. Glad people seem to be liking the guide. Hopefully new members will find it useful to have an actual resource that can teach them about what IRL is now.
Notable Guffs That I Dun Gone And Did:
The Beginner's Guide to IRL:
https://gametechmods.com/forums/tutorials-and-tips/irl-a-beginner's-guide

Offline Olister92

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2018, 02:33:22 PM »
Only just seen this but, it's excellent exactly what new players need to know about building DSL IRL

Offline TheRoboteer

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2018, 03:32:15 PM »
Only just seen this but, it's excellent exactly what new players need to know about building DSL IRL
TY my dude. Glad I seem to have achieved my goal when making this guide. Hope it gets some use helping out new players
Notable Guffs That I Dun Gone And Did:
The Beginner's Guide to IRL:
https://gametechmods.com/forums/tutorials-and-tips/irl-a-beginner's-guide

Offline [cringey name goes here]

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 02:15:41 PM »
this is it cheif
why, you may ask
to that i respond
yes
indeed

Offline TheRoboteer

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Re: IRL - A Beginner's Guide
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2018, 04:41:48 PM »
Notable Guffs That I Dun Gone And Did:
The Beginner's Guide to IRL:
https://gametechmods.com/forums/tutorials-and-tips/irl-a-beginner's-guide